18/11/2019 - 10:34

Former Navitas team launches Camino

18/11/2019 - 10:34

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Former Navitas team launches Camino
John Wood says Camino’s mix of academic leadership and business acumen is unmatched in the market. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Several former Navitas executives have banded together to form Camino Global Education, following Navitas’ $2.3 billion privatisation in June which saw ownership partially returned to founder Rod Jones.

Founded by Mr Jones in 1994, Navitas provides education and training through pathway colleges and managed campuses in Australia as well as internationally, and was listed on the ASX between 2004 and 2019.

John Wood, who served as an executive with Navitas between 2007 and 2018, founded Camino to operate as a boutique offering in the education sector, with a focus on developing long-term partnerships with universities across Australia and worldwide.

Dr Wood told Business News the idea for Camino came about after preliminary discussions with Navitas’ co-founder, Peter Larsen, who was unable to retain his shares in Navitas after the privatisation deal.

With the two interested in returning to the education market, those discussions were eventually opened up to include John Duncan and Malcolm Raedel, former general managers at Navitas.

They were joined by Andrew Dawkins, who left Navitas in 2016 and had been working with Study Group until October.

Julian Mills, a special adviser with Gresham Partners, joined soon after, with Dr Wood founding Camino in August.

“We all felt we had so much to offer” Dr Wood said.

“We had this passion to do things and realised that some of us had much more currency than you could’ve imagined.”

Dr Wood said Camino would focus on fewer partnerships than many others in the market, underscoring the importance of developing alliances with regulators and universities globally.

While not disclosing the names of universities he had been in contact with, Dr Wood said he had been in discussion with entities in Singapore, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the UK.

All six of Camino’s directors had a large network of agents and educational institutions to draw on.

That experience brought to the company was vital, Dr Wood said.

“What sets us apart from all of those players is that none of them at their executive level has the depth or breadth of experience that we have,” he said.

“None of them have got the blend of the academic leadership … mixed with a business acumen.

“We’ve been part of the creation of 30-odd university partnerships in 10 countries.

“We know this pathway business and managed campus business inside out, what works and what doesn’t.”

Dr Wood said Camino was in discussion with seven universities globally, and that its business model would not be that different to others on the market in its focus on royalty arrangements and working with university admissions and marketing teams.

He said that by retaining and developing the boutique branding, the company had been selective in which universities it had chosen to partner with, underpinning a focus on personalised experiences for students.

“Our aspirations are very humble,” he said.

“We really only want a handful of partnerships, but we want partnerships that we can make work for both parties.

“We’re small, and that’s the way we want it to be.”

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